“Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.’” (Luke 2:9-10)

What the shepherds experienced out in that field was the Divine Presence of God – Shekinah for the Jewish people; the Glory of the Lord that is so bright that it is almost beyond the visible eye. The Glorious Light of God is so pure that it exposes everything and reveals that which we so desperately try to hide. That is why whenever messengers of God – Angels – appear on the seen the first thing they always say is “Do Not be Afraid”.  When you stand before the presence of God nothing is hidden. The darkest parts of our souls are exposed. The death that is consuming us from the inside out is brought into the light and given new life. “What has come into being in Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of all people. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:3b-5)

This is “Good News of Great Joy”. However, this is extremely bad news for the darkness. Those who choose to live in darkness will do anything to snuff out this Light. That is why in the Gospel of Matthew we hear that King Herod sent troops into Bethlehem to kill all the male children two years and younger. Herod is the darkness and he will stop at nothing to try and destroy the Light.

That was true 2,000 years ago and it is still true today. Whenever and wherever the Light of God shines, darkness will try and destroy it. We saw this truth ever so clearly this Christmas with the senseless killing of God’s children as they gathered for a Communion service in White’s Chapel – and the stabbing of 5 Jewish worshipers in New York as they gathered for a Hanukkah celebration. Darkness will always try to overcome the Light. More often than not it is through more subtle means of manipulation and deceit such as idle gossip, apathy, and the unwillingness to do what is right when you know what is being said or done is wrong.

The “Good News of Great Joy” is that “The Light Shines in the darkness, and the darkness CAN NOT overcome it.” So, this New Year let us all resolve to step out of the darkness and into God’s Light. Let the Good News of Great Joy overcome your fear. 


Pastor Randy Tucker